I am delighted to launch the ‘Unleash Series’, a monthly reminder of some of the material that we covered when you completed your Personal Leadership Programme. The idea behind the series is to support you in remaining connected to the material and in integrating the learning into your behaviours. As we know from the programme, ‘behaviour breeds behaviour’ and by modelling what we have learnt, it can have a profound impact on our lives and equally, inspire those around us.
So for the month of June, lets all focus on the skill of really listening attentively as we defined and experienced it on the programme. Listening to someone with our full and undivided attention, and demonstrating genuine interest in their thoughts, are two of the most empowering things we can do. It means much more than simply listening with our ears. When we are truly attentive and listening to someone, all of our senses are fully engaged, giving that person our undivided concentration and regarding them with total fascination. We need to listen with our ears, our eyes and our heart, relinquishing our own thoughts and agenda.
We can all remember a time when we felt listened to. We may not remember what we were talking about at the time, but we can remember how it made us feel. We know intuitively whether we are being listened to or not. It is a mistake to think we can disguise when we are not listening or attentive to others. Such inattention or ‘half-listening’ can fundamentally undermine the quality of our relationships. Linking this back to ‘behaviour breeds behaviour’, if you want people to listen to what you have to say, then make sure they feel you have listened to them. When we feel we are being listened to, we know we are being taken seriously.
In his book, The 8th Habit, management guru Stephen Covey tells a true story about the importance of asking other people their opinions. Covey recounts how J.W. ‘Bill’ Marriott, the chairman of the board of Marriott International, told him “the biggest lesson I have learned through the years”
“It is to listen to your people – I find that if you have senior managers who really gather their people around them, get their ideas and listen to their input… you make a lot better decisions”
The benefits of having and utilising listening skills when interacting with colleagues and associates are many. An authentic listener can and does evoke a higher level of trust within a relationship. Such trusting relationships are priceless. Leaders who practice these listening skills are much more effective at inspiring professional development and overall performance.
So for the month of May, let us focus on Unleashing… Listening. The best of luck!!
Founder and Managing Director